Refusing to Settle

This toolmaker’s efforts with design software and aluminum production tooling reveals a drive to challenge conventional practices and push capabilities to the limit.

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A view of the assembly area at the 90-employee company’s 60,000-square-foot facility in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. 

Automotive toolmaker Unique Tool & Gauge rarely settles for established practices, preferring instead to find its own way of doing things and push capabilities to the limit. I know this first-hand, having recently written a story about the company’s efforts to essentially automate its design process. It all started with adopting to a single CAD/CAM package (Cimatron) for everything from design to engineering, a move that immediately streamlined design and toolpath generation. Another shop might have stopped there, but that wasn’t enough for Unique Tool & Guage. Read the article to learn more.

However, the company’s work with software isn’t the only example of this drive to never settle. If you’re a long-term reader of MoldMaking Technology, you might have read about how more and more toolmakers are challenging conventional wisdom about steel always being the best choice for production molds. Unique Tool & Gauge calls itself a “pioneer” in this area, and judging from all the attention the company has received, that moniker is well-deserved. Indeed, it’s already been 10 years since the company was chosen to develop aluminum tooling directly for Honda Motor Co.

Two years ago, president and CEO Darcy King penned an article for MoldMaking Technology that sheds light on the company’s thinking. Specifically, the piece covers how using aluminum for high-volume automotive applications can help address challenges with cycle time, cost, and quality. Two years before that, we covered how the company teamed up with Alcan to machine what was then the largest block of 7000-Series aluminum ever forged into a tool for front wheel-well liners. And, of course, more information about the company’s expertise in this area is available on its website

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